OCEAN CITY — With Ocean City getting ready to shop out the town’s advertising contract, it was learned this week a familiar firm that has held the contract for decades will not be part of the process.
During Monday’s Tourism Commission meeting, Tourism and Business Development Director Tom Perlozzo presented a proposed timeline for the request for proposal (RFP) seeking bidders for the town’s advertising firm contract. Perlozzo explained the draft RFP has been completed and is expected to be sent out next week.
There will be a pre-bid meeting in October and the finalists will be notified in November. The commission will review the finalists and make a recommendation to the full Mayor and Council in December, and the contract will be awarded by the end of the year to the successful bidder, who will hit the ground running in the new year.
For the last 20 years, the town has contracted with MGH and its founder and CEO Andy Malis to handle the town’s advertising, including television, radio, print and billboard advertising campaigns, for example. Mallis has worked closely with town tourism officials and the leadership of organizations such as the Chamber of Commerce and the Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (HMRA), for example, on conceptual plans for campaigns and his carries out the conceptual plans.
When the tourism commission discussed the draft RFP for the advertising contract last month, it was alluded to that MGH might not be seeking to renew its long-standing relationship with the town. On Monday, Perlozzo told the commission MGH and Malis had opted out of the RFP process.
“MGH has elected not to participate,” he said. “We will definitely be going in a different direction.”
Perlozzo said there had not been any falling out of any kind with MGH. The firm is simply going in a different direction after 20 years. Commission member Kevin Gibbs was surprised MGH and Malis were not seeking to participate in the RFP process for the town’s advertising contract.
“I can’t believe they don’t want to participate,” he said. “Am I missing something here?”
Perlozzo said he continued to encourage MGH to the participate in the bidding for the town’s advertising after two decades, but the firm declined the offer. Perlozzo said the town would not essentially beg MGH to make a bid if they were going in a different direction.
“I did everything I could to get them to participate,” he said. “After 20 years, they have an edge. They know the product. My feeling is, if he doesn’t want the job, we don’t want them to have the job.”
Gibbs continued to express surprised the town’s advertising firm for the last 20 years wasn’t at least going to throw its hat in the ring for the new contract.
“Ocean City has to be his biggest client,” he said. “If he wants out, I guess that’s it. It’s not a performance issue or anything adversarial. Something is missing.”
Ocean City last put out an RFP for the advertising contract 10 years ago and MGH was the successful bidder for the second time in two cycles. Perlozzo said Malis and MGH continued to work with the town to ease the transition even if they are not returning.
“The transition has been stellar,” he said. “They have worked with us through this coming transition. I’m just a little disappointed they don’t want to participate.”
Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.
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